Rayleigh plans Latin-themed Christmas

Farolitos news bannerChrist Church Rayleigh United Reformed Church, in Essex, plans to bring a Latin American tradition to its community this Christmas. “We have several things planned for Christmas that the coronavirus can’t spoil!” said their Minister, the Revd Naomi Young-Rodas, before explaining.

Las posadas is a Latin American tradition, where people dressed up as Mary and Joseph visit houses that are designated to be inns (posada in Spanish). The head of the procession carries a candle, as the actors travel to one house a night, for nine nights. At each house, the resident responds by singing a song, after which the pair are recognised and allowed to enter with their guests, to kneel around a Nativity scene and pray. Christmas carols are sung, children break open star-shaped piñatas and a feast is shared.

“In light of the pandemic, and instead of some of the Christmas activities that were cancelled – our town’s Christmas lights switch-on event, and our carol service – we decided to do our own, simplified version of the posadas tradition. Mary and Joseph will visit some homes of church members during December, but sadly, due to Covid-19, they will be refused entry! A few of the encounters will be filmed for display on our Facebook page and website.”

In addition to the posadas, the church is working in partnership with a local charity to provide food hampers for people who have fallen into poverty due to the pandemic. This work is coupled with a monetary appeal, launched in November, that will also help people in poverty. The church plans a digital carol service, where participants will simultaneously listen to the URC’s Daily Devotions service in their own homes.

Image: The minister’s dog taking the role of the donkey during the Las posadas.
Published: 9 December 2020

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